June 24th, 2017

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful…

I recently was on a trip to Fort Bragg, California, as part of a visit to friends and family in that state.

“Fort Bragg” doesn’t sound like a lovely spot, unless you’re fond of ammunition. But the town long ago ceased to be a fort, and despite some cold and foggy weather (fortunately, not at all in evidence during my trip), it is one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

The ocean views and cliff walks there are unbelievably awesome, in the sense of inspiring awe—and I say this as a person who is a connoisseur of ocean views and cliff walks The places is very restorative, if you happen to be in need of restoration, which I was and often am.

The walks along those cliffs are miles and miles long, and feature not only open ocean and sunsets over the ocean (which you get with the Pacific and not the Atlantic), huge waves, big and varied black boulders, but also meadows full of wildflowers and waves of grain, both amber and pale lavender.

There are some good restaurants in town, too, particularly the Italian ones. And the very cutesy Mendocino is just down the road. Fort Bragg isn’t cutesy, but the motels there are a lot more reasonable. Between the two bergs is a spectacular botanical garden with still another walk to and by the sea, in case you get tired of the glorious flowers in the garden.

Oh, and near the whole area you can find groves of towering redwoods.

Here are a few of my photos. They don’t really do any of it justice, of course, and they can’t show one of the biggest attractions, the fragrant clarity of the sea air. But they’re the best I’ve got:

40 Responses to “By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful…”

  1. Sara Crompton Says:

    I used to live right up the road in Albion. It is truly restorative. I miss the sweetness of the air.

  2. Griffin Says:

    About ten years ago we did the entire Highway 1 route from San Luis Obispo to just north of Fort Bragg where it leaves the coast. Has to be the most scenic road in the world but boy is it ever windy. And windy, too. The last night we stayed at Fort Bragg and you are correct about the hotels being a little more reasonable than in the oh so trendy Mendocino. Almost forget you are in California. Actually feel sorry for the locals as they really are along for the ride with nuts in SF, LA and SV.

  3. neo-neocon Says:


    I also hear that it’s been hard economic times for the Fort Bragg locals since the lumber mill closed down. Now it apparently relies almost solely on tourism.

  4. The Other Chuck Says:

    Ah, California’s north coast is indeed beautiful, Neo. You were lucky to be there when the fog was out. It makes for often dreary summers but is part of the reason for the lush vegetation and flowers. I live a few hours drive away but haven’t visited in years. Your pictures and description, and well as the past few weeks of 110 F. heat here in the interior, make me want to make a reservation! Thanks.

  5. Griffin Says:


    I think things are tough in a lot of these northern California areas just as they are in the central valley area that VDH writes about a lot. Places like Fort Bragg and Yreka and Tulare have nothing in common with large coastal areas that set all the regulations and laws that some little guy in Fort Bragg must live by.

  6. FOAF Says:

    When I was younger, trying to make a living as a musician, I used to travel up there a lot. There was a bar in Caspar about halfway between Mendocino and Ft. Bragg that I played in several times. And more frequently went to places along the way like Santa Rosa and Ukiah. But since I moved south to Mountain View I almost never made it back up there.

    A few years ago a friend of mine passed away, he was living in Ukiah at his old family home so I drove there for the memorial service. I had almost forgotten how beautiful it was in Northern California. I had all day to drive back so I took a winding road out to the coast and then drove all the way back through San Francisco on Rte. 1. One of the most lovely, peaceful days of my life.

    And yes the economy up there has been very depressed with the decline of the lumber industry.

  7. liberty wolf Says:

    So beautiful and yes the sea air! I miss the sea air which is noticeable at first, even in San Francisco. Anytime I land back in the Bay Area, I notice the sea air immediately.

    I am in Denver now, and want to visit often. I am not as stoked on it here as I was on it there sans the crazy politics of course. I guess I have to get up to the mountains here to really appreciate it again.

    So nice you got to get away!

  8. Mac Says:

    Oh man, what a time for you to post this. It’s a bit painful. As a resident of one of the states to which the California government has banned state travel, I’m taking it a bit personally, and thinking about banning California from my list of destinations. That would be sad (as well as, obviously, futile, except for any bit of satisfaction I might feel from it), not only because it’s a beautiful place but because I have close relatives there.

  9. Mac Says:

    I mean, they surely don’t want my infidel presence, nor my polluted money.

  10. parker Says:

    The northern CA coast, and the coasts of Oregon and Washington are very beautiful. I have a special fondness for the Oregon coast. Newport to tiny Yachats is one of our favorite stretches of of coastal vistas. Plus the seafood attracts us.

    I really like the fourth photo. “Smell the sea and feel the sky… into the mystic.”

  11. Oldflyer Says:

    We were very fortunate to spend almost three years in Monterey. It is obviously much more developed, and touristy than the area you visited Neo; but, it is a special place.

    I love the Marine layer weather, with its fog and overcast.. Not everyone’s cup of tea, and many Navy families just could not abide it; but, I am not one of those–even though I am a native Floridian. My daughter kept her horse at a stable about 7 miles inland, so when we left the fog and overcast of Monterey, we were very soon in the sun and heat.

    I have flown into the Ukiah airport. It has as sophisticated lighting system as any major airport. Clearly, fog is a serious consideration; and probably more ubiquitous than even I would appreciate.

    We are in SoCal now, and I walk very early in the morning. Those times when the marine layer reaches into our area are still much appreciated.

    Quick story. Mother-in-law visited Monterey from Florida, and we went to the beach to watch 4th of July fireworks. We could hear them, and see nothing. Went to the home of friends in Navy housing on higher ground, and watched the vertical displays come up through the fog. She was enthralled.

  12. AesopFan Says:

    Beautiful pictures; added this to my bucket list.

    liberty wolf Says:
    June 24th, 2017 at 6:49 pm
    So beautiful and yes the sea air! I miss the sea air which is noticeable at first, even in San Francisco. Anytime I land back in the Bay Area, I notice the sea air immediately.

    I am in Denver now, and want to visit often. I am not as stoked on it here as I was on it there sans the crazy politics of course. I guess I have to get up to the mountains here to really appreciate it again.

    So nice you got to get away!
    * *
    Waving hello from Denver metro. I was fortunate to visit San Francisco in the late 70s before it got totally crazed (business trip; I didn’t have to pay for anything but souvenirs!); wonderful town to gawk at. Ran into a couple of college chums on the trolley and visited with them awhile.

    I’ve been to a writer’s convention in Pajaro Dunes a couple of times, and really enjoyed the “small town” coast.

    * * However, * *
    Mac Says:
    June 24th, 2017 at 7:01 pm
    Oh man, what a time for you to post this. It’s a bit painful. As a resident of one of the states to which the California government has banned state travel, I’m taking it a bit personally, and thinking about banning California from my list of destinations.

    * * *
    Colorado isn’t on the list yet, but I only live here: I’m from Texas. I would say the black-list states can probably do without California’s business. However, as pointed out here, they seem to find that some trips are important enough to get a pass.
    It’s about the virtue-signaling.

    The crazy is big in Cali; would be nice if the north and interior could divorce the abusive coasters.

    Maybe I’ll just stick with the saner parts of the state for visiting.


    “Hey, here’s an idea. How about if everyone gets in on this game? Maybe all of the states with a more sensible approach to immigration and law enforcement can ban state funded travel to all of the states that have sanctuary cities in them. States with no state income tax can ban travel to those which levy such taxes because of their anti-freedom agenda. And why stop there? Hell, let’s just have all of the states that voted for Trump ban travel to states that voted for Hillary and vice versa. Wouldn’t that be great?”

    .. Well, no, as Jazz continues — but it would be nice to run the ball back the other way for awhile, if it would actually make the Left consider the insanity of their positions — but it wouldn’t, based on past experience.

    They really don’t see any similarity in positions when the Right mirrors their behavior.

  13. Ken Mitchell Says:

    Everybody knows what the Mendocino area looks like; that’s where they filmed all the outdoor scenes for the TV program “Murder, She Wrote”. In fact. “Jessica Fletcher’s House” is one of the B&Bs now available for tourists.

  14. Frog Says:

    The 2nd photo is my pick, contrast-filled by both structures and light.
    The cause of the lumbering industry is, as best I can determine, the result of environmentalism (the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970), markedly reducing timber harvest on public lands in CA and elsewhere, offset in part by imports from “good” green countries like Canada, where timber is harvested primarily from so-called Crown lands. These are public lands controlled by either provincial or Canadian federal government. Only 11% of ALL of Canadian lands are privately owned.
    In the US, the Forest Service controls, and it is multi-purpose, acting on behalf of recreation, beauty, enviros, not just timber management. Timber management usually ends up in last place.
    Trump recently acted against lumber imports from Canada due to Canadian government subsidies thereof.
    The National Forest in Sta. Cruz County, AZ was a glorious timbered savannah one hundred years ago, oaks and pines scattered among the grasslands, but the grasslands have been 99% replaced by invasive, useless and thirsty cedars, totally changing the ecology, including the extinguishment of mountain brooks of clear, pure running water. Now a useless “forest” except to generate the odd forest fire.
    Those cedars are a heritage of FDR, by the way, who ordered them planted as wind shelterbreaks throughout the Midwest during the Dust Bowl. They have ruined the ecobalance of northern Nebraska, the Sandhills, also, as another example.
    Cedars have no natural enemies. Enviros have no natural enemies either, just ones they induce.

  15. John Guilfoyle Says:

    Thanks for that.

    Hope the trip did for your spirit what was needed. The photos alone are a lift.


  16. Mike Says:

    Hello all:

    Maybe i missed something. The pictures are beautiful but Ft. Bragg is in NC last time I checked. RMH

  17. AesopFan Says:

    Mike Says:
    June 24th, 2017 at 11:45 pm
    Hello all:

    Maybe i missed something. The pictures are beautiful but Ft. Bragg is in NC last time I checked. RMH

    * * *
    GoogleMaps says you are both correct.

  18. om Says:


    Easy answer available on the interwebs (Google or Wikipedia). Ft. Bragg in CA was founded as a pre-Civil war for the US Army.


    Ft. Bragg in NC is indeed an active military installation (US Army). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bragg

    Both are named for the same man Braxton Bragg, who served the US Army before the Civil War, and the Confereracy during the war. Given that history maybe CA will change the name of the town?

  19. groundhog Says:

    America the Beautiful.

  20. F Says:

    Nice place, nice post, nice pics. Thanks.

    Funny — and sad — how California’s politics is in so many reactions to your post. I live 45 miles south of Reno, which is being described now as the next Silicon Valley, essentially because of California money and tax refugees building here. Living a dozen miles from CA, the moaning over the crazies next door is a constant theme. But our little valley includes many retirees from CA, who claim they don’t miss that state but are sounding more left wing with ever election. And Clark Co, in the south of the state (Las Vegas) is now solidly blue thanks to Harry Reid’s money and organizational talents, along with a huge influx of Californians.

    Former Mexican President Porfiro Diaz is said to have uttered the now famous saying: “Poor Mexico — so far from God, so close to the United States.” That’s how many of us here feel about California. But it does have a beautiful coast line.

  21. zat Says:

    The second photo reminds me of Caspar David Friedrich’s famous painting Chalk Cliffs on Rügen.

  22. Frog Says:

    zat: thanks for that link! Edifying.

  23. J.J. Says:

    The Mendocino Coast is quite beautiful. I used to fly a Navy T-34 into Arcata to give potential recruits from Humboldt State demo rides. When the weather was fair, I would just follow the coast line flying at 1000 feet and enjoy the scenery.

    California is, no doubt, the most beautiful state in the union. A magnificent sea coast all the way from San Diego’s Silver Strand all the way to the Oregon border. The Central Valley, a bountiful spot for agriculture. The Sierra Nevada Range – beauty without bounds and backpacking, mountain climbing, trout fishing, and skiing paradise.

    In all I have lived there five different times for a total of 17 years. If the political climate changed, I would go back in a minute. In 1985 we moved there with the intent of retiring. Five years later we fled to a state somewhat less voracious for taxes. I watch what’s happening there with great sadness.

  24. Mike Says:

    OK i got it on 2 Ft. Braggs but now, without checking the internet what duo sang “Mendocino County Line”? AND what song / artist is this “Mendocino my teenage girl” and no peeking!!!

  25. AbigailAdams Says:

    So glad you got a chance to visit beautiful CA north coast area. It is a favorite of ours, having driven this stretch several times on trips further south. I do hope you had coastal Italian food, since this is the CA coast and is known for many varieties of seafood. Can’t imagine spending time in this area and not eating the local delicacies. I don’t know how the salmon runs are doing, but this is the time of year there to feast on the world’s finest catch. And always there are Dungeness crab. Next time you’re in the area check out the tiny town further south on Hwy 1, Gualala, where you will encounter an unexpected oasis of a hotel/restaurant which specializes in North Coast cuisine, called St. Orres. They deliver a full breakfast to overnight guests each morning at their cabins in the woods overlooking the sea. Heaven.

  26. Griffin Says:


    ‘the sun sank west of the Mendocino County line’

    Willie & Lee Ann Womack. Lee Ann Womack is the best female country singer of the last 25 years. Her album ‘There’s More Where That Came From’ is a masterpiece.

  27. Mike Says:


    you got it good video too

  28. neo-neocon Says:


    The food was great, and yes, lots of Italian food and also seafood.

  29. arfldgr Says:

    Most of the west is “owned” by the federal government, and is mostly unsettled… (oh, lawd there isnt enough space… right?)…

    The United States government owns 47 percent of all land in the West. In some states, including Oregon, Utah and Nevada, the majority of land is owned by the federal government. Of course, it used to own nearly all of it.

  30. Oldflyer Says:

    The Italian influence on California seafood is pronounced and beneficial. But, it is not alone. My go-to dish on the Monterey Wharf was Cioppino; still is now and again. Folks on the San Francisco wharf would probably opt for the French influence with an order of bouillabaisse. There is a strong Portugese element as well.


  31. SR Says:

    The economics of the North Coast has been heavily buttressed by massive marijuana farms hidden in the forests. Now with legalization, the take might be diminished significantly.

  32. DNW Says:

    Having spent a little time 20 years ago – during a couple of mixed business and vacation weeks in the S.F. to Monterrey/Carmel area, it is easy enough to see why, if given the option, half the world would find its way there.

    I remember thinking, as we drove along the cost road that, golly gee. “It looks just like it does in the movies”.

    Pebble Beach, and Cypress Point, or was it Poppy Hills – I can’t remember – and 17 Mile Drive. What’s not to like?

    In fact, I’d bet that some of the backdrop road scenery, the old Bob Hope flick, My Favorite Brunette, as taken from that last mentioned road.

    Wonder what course this was on?

  33. I'm with Decius Says:

    Oh, yeah? Well, in Cape May we all watch the sun set (over Delaware Bay) at Sunset Beach.


    Plus there’s hot dogs.

  34. mollynh Says:

    Sunsets in the Clearwater Beach area on Florida’ s
    west coast, are not exactly chopped liver.

  35. mollynh Says:

    My husband and I traveled coast to coast when we were newly weds in the late 1970s. So much fun what a vast diverse country. We had those triple AAA guide books with us Medicino was mentioned as being designed by a New Englander as the houses had huge sloping roofs needed in NE so the snow will slide off.
    Sunset at the Bonneville Salt Flats was stunning too lots of purples in various shades.

  36. Toni Santos Says:

    Sounds like just the restorative tonic that you needed. Walking with views and salt air. Ahhhhh.

  37. brdavis9 Says:

    I lived in Eureka/Arcata/Humboldt Co. for most of my early to past-the-middle adult life, from 1970 to around 1998 or so (and visited often from 1955 as a toddler to when I moved there, as my grandparents lived in Rio Dell …at first to attend College of the Redwoods, and then to live).

    …been to Fort Bragg countless times, usually as a side trip over from Willits.

    The Lost Coast hike (about 25 miles of coastal “wilderness” from the Petrolia Mattole River ingress point, through to Shelter Cove …I always did the north-to-south route) should be on your bucket list. Try for early spring, weather permitting.

    The Lost Coast hike is relatively easy (as hiking goes), and wondrous in its pristine exposure to beach landscapes, flora, and fauna that are still relatively untouched by commercial development (due to the King Range National Conservation Area), particularly along the beach.

    Bring a camera.

    Fort Bragg, and the entire North Coast, once thrived on the harvest of natural resources (trees and fishing) and the jobs they provided.

    You can now only guess at, and imagine, how incredibly privileged it was to work and live there then.

    Everyone was poor, and no one noticed lol.

    …I could go fishing for steelhead and salmon by walking a few yards to Yager Creek during my lunch hour break from my job as planer grader for Carlotta Lumber Co (the small mill, not the big LP enterprise they’d purchased a few years before from Palco).

    …I hooked into a 20 pounder one memorable day, just before the mill whistle blew the end of lunch hour, and half the crew including the no-nonsense foreman were cheering me on, and work be damned.

    We had our priorities straight lol.

    But the coastal communities north of Mendocino (almost through to Seattle) all died commercially long ages ago, coincident with the birth of the radical environmental movement.


    We took care of the place. All of us. It was our home, and we knew what we had …until we were subject to political and economic forces we weren’t able to withstand. And there were fewer jobs. And then no jobs. The mills shut down. The fishing was poor, and restrictions were high.

    (Which partially explains the rapid growth and acceptance of the locals to the sensimilla industry. There was nothing else.)

    …but the memories. Ah.

    …almost a dream, now, fading into the idyllic shadows.

    Anyways …put the Lost Coast hike on your list for when you have a week (maybe).

    You will not regret this.

    You’re welcome.

  38. Mike Says:


    Thanks for that, had no idea but OF COURSE the wifey did…

    The history of the confederate south is being erased as we speak and it’s wrong. I’ve recently read (Am Thinker) about the tariffs initiated in the 1830-1850 period that affected many southern states disproportionately (big time) essentially making purchase of many products from the north necessary at much higher costs.

    So we know the south fired first but what in God’s name gave Lincoln the right to attack, suspend civil rights and escalate the conflict costing 600,000+ lives? i believe the 10th amendment to our Constitution was forgotten during this time.

    Obviously slavery was a big issue but did we have to go to this extent to eradicate it? i think NOT.

    And i don’t want to take away from the beauty of this wonderful coastline only to voice my perception of what Bragg’s point of view may have been.

  39. DNW Says:

    “Both are named for the same man Braxton Bragg, who served the US Army before the Civil War, and the Confereracy during the war. Given that history maybe CA will change the name of the town?”

    Probably should not, as he did the Union more good than the South.

  40. om Says:

    Bragg’s legacy appears to be nuanced. It’s my impression that US military installations are not named for incompetents, although Fort McClellan is a counter to that.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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